Kobe Bryant's two-decade long career at the top end of the NBA has not been possible simply because of his exceptional talent.
The Los Angeles Lakers legend is the proud owner of one of the most competitive characters ever to grace the league - a never-say-die attitude that has at times led to run ins with coaches, fans and even fellow teammates.
As such, as well as being perhaps one of the NBA's greatest ever players, Kobe Bryant is often labelled amongst its most-hated.
Three little words
So when fellow Lakers teammate Steve Nash, as part of the recent in-depth Sports Illustrated article chronicling Kobe's career, was asked to describe Bryant in three words you cannot blame the curse-laden response that followed:
"Mother-f****** a******," came Nash's eloquent reply.
And what did Kobe Bryant make of the Canadian's choice words? He thought it was 'awesome'. Because Kobe Bryant knows more than anyone that he is indeed an a****** at times and it is this facet of his character which has been critical in him winning five rings thus far.
Kobe may have been happy with Steve Nash in this instance but considering his famed altercations with various former teammates down the years it was a bold move by the former Suns man.
Only one Kobe
From Shaq to Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant has never been one to back down from confrontation down at the Staples Center. His fiery character have been the cause of a number of long-lasting grudges down the years but, as Kobe alluded to himself in a recent interview, such intensity is what allowed the Lakers to thrive and win titles.
Even as the Lakers franchise have endured difficult times in recent seasons that quality seems to have stuck with Bryant. Nick Young revealed last season that the experienced veteran is never too far away from getting on their case at all times; whether than be regarding on-court performance or fashion choices.
And as evidenced by a recent performance during his now annual tour to Asia Kobe Bryant doesn't reserve his a****** attitude only for professional basketball players - he is happy to teach kids and fans a lesson on the court should they get ideas above their station.
Lakers 2014-15 season
With Kobe Bryant making a long-awaited return from injury this upcoming season onlookers will be intrigued to see just how the 16-time NBA All-Star will fair in this the second year of his mammoth $48.5 million contract.
The player himself has spoken of his desire to return an evolved, but equally-effective cog in the Lakers machine but it remains to be seen whether Bryant has the ability to aid a frankly depleted roster in an exceedingly tough Western Conference.
One thing is for certain, if any of the new boys such as Jeremy Lin or Carlos Boozer, or veterans such as Steve Nash himself for that matter, are performing below Kobe's expectations they can be certain to hear from the man himself soon enough.